Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit (née Sarup Kumari Nehru)(1900-1990), Indian Ambassador to the United States and President of the United Nations General Assembly
Sitter in 16 portraits
Indian diplomat and politician. Born in Allahabad, she was sister to Jawaharlal Nehru. Like her brother, she was imprisoned for activism during India's struggle for independence. She became the first woman to hold a cabinet position in pre-Independence India (1937). She was the leader of the All Indian Women's Conference (1941-1943). Widowed after her barrister husband Ranjit Sitaram Pandit who was arrested for Independence activism died in jail. She brought up her children independently because Indian laws dictated that women were not entitled to any inheritance because of their gender alone. During her political career she was Indian ambassador in Moscow, Washington and Mexico, the leader of the Indian UN delegation (1946-8, 1952-3), the first woman president of the UN General Assembly (1953) and Indian High Commissioner to London (1954-56). She became the Indian representative to the UN Human Rights Commission in 1978.